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The Daily Beat: 5 June

Ivane Chkhikvadze, EU Integration Program Manager at the Civil Society Foundation, and Natalie Sabanadze, former Georgian Ambassador to the EU, who testified before the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe’s congressional hearing on the situation in Georgia, were labeled as “bolshevik traitors” and shameful agents of the West by Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze, Speaker Shalva Papuashvili and the other high-ranking representatives of the ruling majority.

In an interview with Russia’s state-controlled TASS news agency, Mikhail Galuzin, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister said that Moscow “doesn’t rule out” that the West’s goal is “to try to implement the Maidan scenario of a change of government” in Georgia. He also lashed out at the foreign ministers of Lithuania, Estonia, and Iceland, who in mid-May addressed protesters in Tbilisi against the Law on Foreign Agents, calling their actions “blatant interference in the internal affairs of an independent state.”

Since Monday, Parliament banned a third journalist, Natalia Kajaia from the opposition-leaning TV Pirveli, from working in the legislative building for one month. This latest ban was made at the request of the leader of the GD’s spinoff People’s Power party, MP Sozar Subari. Kajaia’s accreditation was suspended because she continued to record the interview despite the MP’s refusal. A few days ago, two other journalists from another opposition-leaning media outlet, Mtavari TV and Formula TV, were also temporarily banned from working in Parliament.

People’s Power, an offshoot of the ruling Georgian Dream party, issued a lengthy statement, claiming that NATO’s Article 5 does not guarantee military assistance to Allies in the event of an attack and that the Georgian-language translation of this Article 5 of the Washington Treaty is “deliberately falsified,” leaving out the part that gives individual members of the Alliance the agency to decide “whether or not to use military assistance as they deem necessary”, as well as criticizing yesterday’s U.S. Congressional hearing on Georgia.

In an interview with the Movement media outlet, EU Ambassador to Georgia Paweł Herczyński said that the EU will consider “all options” that can be introduced towards Georgia due to adopting the foreign agents law, including the suspension of visa liberalization. “We need to check if, in view of the [Law on] Transparency of foreign influence, those conditions still apply to Georgia,” Ambassador Herczyński said, noting that a simple majority of votes, and not all EU members’ votes, is required for the EU to suspend the visa-free regime for Georgia for six months.

Commenting on the possible suspension of the EU visa liberalization policy with Georgia, Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze said – “We have been threatened with many things…including sharing the fate of the Slovak PM, who was shot…if any country is interested in threatening us, I am ready to provide information and evidence for the investigation.”   

According to media reports, a 35-year-old Georgian citizen, a resident of Perevi village, Sachkhere municipality, was sentenced by the Tskhinvali occupation regime to two years in prison for illegal crossing of the occupation line and unauthorized fishing on the occupied territory.


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